As the wildfires swept through California, news of Allyn Pierce’s heroic actions swept the automotive nation. Putting the safety of others above his own, Allyn drove his Toyota Tundra through the deadly Camp Fire to rescue people who were in imminent danger. Allyn’s good-doings saved some who may not have otherwise survived, but he sacrificed his truck’s well-being in the process.We’ve covered it time and time again. But if any vehicle deserves repeated coverage, this is absolutely it. The Marshmallow/Toasted Tundra deserves to be honored for its greatness, and Hooniverse Car (Truck!) of the Year is the perfect time to do so.
Yes, I wave the Toyota flag, but anybody with a heart can get on board with this story. Not because of the truck itself, but because of the owner’s actions. It’s a story that warms the heart and one that that shines a light on how our little annual award is not so much about the vehicles themselves, but about the people who own and do great things with said vehicles.
And so, it’s not just the right thing to do but the important thing to do: I nominate and hope you too will consider Allyn Pierce’s Toasted Marshmallow Toyota Tundra for HCOTY.
The story is one that brought light to a dark time. Through coverage on seemingly every car site including our own, the tale of Allyn Pierce and his heroic doings amidst the recent California wildfires deservingly caught everyone’s attention. News spread of an enthusiast’s courageous use of his vehicle to save lives, sacrificing his own personal belongings to put others’ health and safety first.
During the recent Camp Fire, Allyn Pierce picked up and shuttled them to safety stranded strangers who otherwise would have been in the way of extreme danger. Driving through the fire, Allyn eventually drove his Tundra directly through the forest to save himself from the flames. Upon making it safely back to the hospital at which he had worked and originally departed, Allyn then continued his nurse duty of helping and saving even more people. You can read the full-length in-depth story at SpeedHunters, but the takeaway is that through a seriously troubling period and a genuinely hazardous day, Allyn repeatedly put others before himself.
So, the truck itself: Allyn’s Tundra, “the Pandra,” is an SR5 with a few tasteful modifications. Among these are suspension from ICON, wheels from Method, and 35” KO2s from BFGoodrich. An unremarkable but truly nice truck on its own, it’s now adorned with the charred “marshmallow” paint job to complement its white paint. The truck is extremely unique and storied, but it could have been any car or truck and the story would have been the same. Though the Tundra has made headlines, it’s not the truck that needs honoring.
Two years ago friend of Hooniverse Zach Bowman’s Odyssey Rig won the honorary and first-ever Hoon’s Choice Award not for the vehicle itself, but for what was done with it. Last year, our own Bradley Brownell’s 912E took the prize. Again, it wasn’t as much for the car itself as it was for what the owner did with said vehicle. This year, I’ve chosen my nominee for the exact same reason. It could be any vehicle that was part of the story, but the owner’s notable actions absolutely are what make the story worth telling.
And to better Allyn’s story, the car community itself stepped in and made a GoFundMe page to help the Pierce family get themselves back on their feet in the wake of the devastating fires. Always there to aid those in need, it’s another installment of car lovers coming together to support their own. It doesn’t hurt that as of this writing the fundraiser’s collection total has doubled its goal number.
Better yet, Toyota itself saw the heroic act and stepped in. The company gave Allyn a brand-new Tundra TRD Pro to replace the damaged one, allowing him to continue on with a truck that isn’t a constant reminder of the losses seen due to the wildfires. A blank slate to move forward, and a truck that will hopefully never see what the Pandra saw.
A few years back, a comment on my very own HCOTY nomination of Bowman’s adventure truck/home struck a chord and has stuck with me. Commenter Alff wrote: “When it comes down to it, HCOTY isn’t really about the car.” This is a recurring theme with me, with the vehicles I nominate, and with what I enjoy most and get the most out of from the automotive world. And this year is no different.
Here at Hooniverse we hand out our annual celebratory award named after and meant for an individual vehicle, but let’s be real: it truly isn’t about the car. Cars are pieces of metal and plastic and other inanimate materials, but HCOTY is really about what the owner does with it that makes it worthy of the title. So though it may technically be Allyn’s Tundra getting the nomination, it’s really Allyn that deserves the victory. Because no automotive story is as great as one in which an automobile is used for doing something truly positive and for bringing about true goodness in the world. Here’s to you, Allyn, and thank you for your selfless acts.